World History




a writing system using picture symbols, used in ancient Egypt.


a plant used to make many useful things, including a paper-like substance to write on. The Egyptians wrote on rolls of papyrus, using hieroglyphs and other forms of writing.

Rosetta Stone

a stone slab, found in 1799, with writing on it in two languages (Egyptian and Greek). The discovery of this stone made it possible for scholars to finally understand Egyptian hieroglyphics.


This was the ancient Egyptian system of writing that used pictures to represent words or syllables. Hieroglyphics preserved records of ancient Egyptian culture for thousands of years. Egyptians carved hieroglyphics into stone, and they wrote on papyrus made from a reed plant that was pressed and dried to make a paper-like material. Paper gets its name from papyrus. Papyrus was rolled onto scrolls, which made written records lightweight, compact, and portable.

The Rosetta Stone at the British Museum

Modern people did not understand Egyptian hieroglyphics until the Rosetta Stone was discovered in Egypt by Napoleon’s armies in the late 1700s. Carved into the Rosetta Stone was a message written in hieroglyphics along with a translation in Greek. Modern scholars understood Greek and used it to break the code of hieroglyphics. Now we can read about details of life in ancient Egypt ranging from love poems to surgical procedures. A “Rosetta Stone” has come to mean the key to understanding a difficult problem.

Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the questions.